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Subject: RE: Email ettiquette (was RE: windows won't detect my ipod)

RE: Email ettiquette (was RE: windows won't detect my ipod)

From: Christopher Woods <christof_at_infinitus.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 03:00:26 -0000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matthew Caron [mailto:matt_at_mattcaron.net]
> Sent: 03 March 2007 02:16
> To: Rockbox
> Subject: Re: Email ettiquette (was RE: windows won't detect my ipod)
>
> Actually, on a completely different topic and mostly from a
> social commentary perspective, I've noticed this quite a bit
> in my transition from engineering/tech focused fields to
> having more dealings with management. I used to be a firmware
> engineer to a printer company, then a consultant writing
> .NET, now I write Perl and PHP for an insurance company. It
> seems like the further you get away from hackers and the more
> you get towards non-computer folks (product managers,
> engineers from other disciplines, my mother, etc.), the more
> people simply can't handle inline comments and what we
> consider "proper" use of email.
> Hence, they top-post, quote incorrectly, are imprecise in
> their use of language and explanations, etc. The thing is, I
> can't figure out why - I try and explain why these approaches
> are better, and they seem to make an effort, and end up just
> getting more confused. It must be some difference in the way
> they think vs. the way I think.

Interesting this; it's something I've noticed a lot on all the lists I
participate in. Personally, I top-post when replying to emails or lists
where it's not minded (where, say, the list admin top posts himself and so
it's not minded that much) but I do try to make the effort to reply below
the message on lists like this where I know there's a lot more users who do
it the 'classical' way. ;) I find top-posted replies easier to read, it's
quicker, for me anyway, to view an entire conversation just based on jumping
to each email received in chronological order with the same topic. Just
about everybody I speak to in emails and correspond with top-posts, I think
it's just one of those things people do because it's quicker - and, for me
at least, there's no appreciable downsides to doing it, because you do have
the original message below the reply for clarity or context should you wish
to read it (instead of having to skip all the way past it to view the
response). Those few seconds per message can really add up if you're going
through a lot of emails...

It's the classic 'old skool vs. nu skool' debate once again - I guess I'm in
the nu skool camp of email users insofar as method in which I write my
replies :) And no, I'm not blind, just eternally short of time, and yes,
I've also considered that top-posting is more beneficial for the
partially-sighted and blind people on lists such as this (which is why I'd
do it all the time if I knew that it wouldn't rile people as much as it
seems to do).

For me, it's not so much as a "can't handle inline commenting" issue, I will
do that if the need arises (say, I'm replying to many points through a
lengthy email) but for short responses, I can't really see much point in
replying below the original message. I scan through my list of emails in
Outlook, I click on one and it displays in the autopreview pane below the
message list, I read the reply, I move on - having to skip chunks of
original text wastes time imho and is a behaviour which is declining in
usage (maybe for the best, in the grand scheme of things, change is good),
at least from what I see. It makes no perceivable difference to the
behaviour of email clients (like Outlook and gmail, where you can organise
things into conversations) - it does that based on the date and the email
title, so putting the original message before your reply seems a bit
pointless these days.

Thoughts? Obvious pros/cons for top/bottom posting?
Received on 2007-03-03


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